NOATAK, Alaska — University of Alaska Fairbanks officials say researchers have discovered ancient artifacts in northwest Alaska.
The discovery of several decorated clay discs was made this summer while archaeologists excavated at the site of previously discovered petroglyphs and three prehistoric dwellings at Noatak National Preserve.
Officials say the excavation team included researchers from UAF’s Museum of the North and the National Park Service.
The team assembled at the site discovered almost 40 years ago to document the rock art and to excavate partially underground house pits.
Museum of the North archaeologist Scott Shirar says in a news release the discs appear to be a unique artifact for Alaska. He says the excavation covered only a small area and the discovery indicates there are probably more artifacts. (source)
A centuries-old Haida canoe has been discovered near the Prince of Wales Island village of Kasaan, Sealaska Corp. announced Tuesday. Work on the nearly 34-foot vessel may have stopped around the same time that Columbus sailed from Spain.
A surveyor with Sealaska’s subsidiary, the Sealaska Timber Corporation, spotted the canoe under a heavy layer of moss while working on forested land owned by the Alaska Native regional corporation last winter.
“(Engineers and field personnel) are instructed to immediately secure the area” when they recognize potential historical objects, Sealaska Executive Vice President Rick Harris said in a written statement. “(To) stop any activities that may negatively affect the cultural resource, and contact Sealaska Heritage Institute, which oversees these matters.” Steps were quickly taken to protect the area until a full investigation could take place. Read more.
KODIAK, Alaska - Excavation work for a new retaining wall for the Baranov Museum Saturday unearthed a part of Kodiak history when an on-site archaeologist recognized deliberately stacked rocks and old wood planks in the exposed earth. She then began documenting what is most likely a structure from the era of Russian colonization.
The find was not completely unexpected. For the 200th anniversary of the museum building, known in Kodiak as the Erskine House, a 2008 community archaeology project excavated two pits near the area of the retaining wall. The archaeology project was conducted in partnership with the Alutiiq Museum.
Found in those excavation pits was similar wood planking, said archaeologist Sarah Corbin. One of the pits included a gunflint that was linked with the Russian era (1743-1867). Read more.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The remains of hundreds of Alaska Natives will be blessed at a ceremony this weekend.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says the ceremony is being held Saturday at the UA Museum of the North.
Jim Whitney manages the UA museum archaeology collection. He says remains began arriving at the museum in the 1920s, largely through private donations and discoveries during excavations.
He says the Fairbanks museum has been working with tribes to return the remains. But, he says, none have been returned since 2008.
Event organizer Candyce Childers says the ceremony is meant to draw attention to the 340 sets of human remains still in the museum’s possession. Following the ceremony, a panel discussion about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is planned. (source)
The next time you’re having a disagreement with a work colleague or annoying neighbour, bear this in mind: Chances are you’re related.
A new study of DNA patterns throughout the world suggests that North America was originally populated by no more than 70 people.
Most experts agree that, around 14,000 years ago, a group of humans crossed the land bridge that connected what is now Siberia in Russia with Alaska.
But new research has shown just how small that group was, venturing into a vast continent from Asia during the last Ice Age.
Up to now DNA analyses of the intrepid and original ‘founding fathers’ looked at a particular gene, using estimates and academic assumptions on constant population sizes over time.
The new study, by Professor Jody Hey, came at the subject from a different angle - looking at nine genomic regions to account for variations in single genes, and assuming that sizes of founding populations changed over time. Read more.